When I decided recently to hire a new editor for my team, I put a call out in my email newsletter. After all, who better to tap for new hires than my own community?
I figured I’d get a few responses, but instead, my inbox FLOODED with responses.
At first, I thought the lesson was that there are a whole lot of qualified editors looking for work. But then, after reading through all of these emails, I recognized an even more important lesson, one that’s particularly helpful for you:
What All the BEST Applications Had in Common
Since these new editors will help me with blog posts, I’m looking for a style that’s conversational, not stiff. That’s why pitch emails written in that format — rather than a formal and dry, “I’d like to apply for this position” — got bumped to the top of my virtual pile.
The next time you pitch yourself or your work, take note of the tone of the company you’re applying to. If you’re looking to go corporate, by all means act buttoned-up and formal. But if you’re hoping to be the right fit for a startup or some other creative outlet, interesting and casual (rather than following “the rules”) might be a better choice.
They Mention My Work
Yes, flattery works wonders. But that’s not the only reason it’s important to let the person you’re writing to know you respect what they’re up to.
Showing that you’re interested and engaged with their work makes them feel like you’ll actually enjoy working with them and will jive with their team, which is often more important to the hiring manager than you realize. For me, it also means I’ll have to spend less time getting that person up to speed on what I’m about; instead, we can jump right in to the good stuff.
They Pitch Themselves Well
Rather than saying something like, “let me know if there’s anything you want to know about me,” stand-out candidates offer relevant details, explaining why they’re the perfect fit for this position.
Especially when I have dozens of emails to look through — and you know bosses who are hiring for a job have dozens of applicants — it’s easier when the interested party tells me off-the-bat about relevant experience and skills, so I don’t have to fish for it.
They’re Short and Sweet
It might not sound easy to do this while covering the components we already talked about, but it IS possible. Keeping your email to the point will show the boss you respect their time, which makes you that much more appealing. If you’re aiming for a writing position, this is even more important because writing succinctly is a huge part of writing well.
All in all, I might have passed over some great candidates simply because their email didn’t catch my eye. But landing the job isn’t just about being qualified, it’s about selling yourself. And being able to write in a way that sells yourself is often a sort of trial run for the position, especially one that involves writing and editing.
Alexis Grant is a Career Attraction Approved Expert, an entrepreneurial writer and digital strategist, with a focus on careers. In addition to being a dream-chasing traveler, Pro-Blogger named Alexis as one of 20 to watch in 2012 calling her a “publishing powerhouse.”
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